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Weddings are expensive

October 14th, 2015 at 06:07 am

Obviously, there are more frugal ways to have a wedding, but I do want some sense of grandeur and fairytale. Our guest list ended up at 155. For a destination wedding, I highly doubt we'll top 100 (if that!), but I have to plan for everyone as a worst case scenario. So far, anticipated expenses look to be about 25k. This is with solid quotes on the venue (already deposited and includes floral, cake, and officiant), DJ, photographer, and caterer. About 7.5k is a random estimate on the rehearsal dinner (5k) and alcohol (2.5k). After looking into the rehearsal dinner a bit more, I think it'll be more around 2k (much less if I go pizza rather than BBQ which I'm leaning towards since I'm feeling more and more like we have to invite all guests who will be in town). I did decide to do away with any sort of excursion, but figured I'd extend an open invitation to a scenic picnic area for our rehearsal 'dinner'. I am also covering my bridesmaids' hair, make-up, and nails. The nails we'll do there as a girls' outing. My cousin (who's recently become a viral sensation for his celebrity recreations) has graciously agreed to do all hair and make-up. I offered him $200 and to cover his room. To me, that expense is worth it as he's ridiculously talented and I'm terrible with both hair and make-up (luckily, my fiance isn't marrying me for my looks!). I'm really hoping that I overestimated everything and it comes in closer to 20k (our original budget). Our goal is to cover the vast majority of expenses ourselves. We only plan to ask parents for help if it's really needed.

7 Responses to “Weddings are expensive”

  1. Butterscotch Says:

    Every rehearsal dinner I have been to have been just for the people in the wedding party, not for all the guests. Do you need to invite all your guests to this dinner? If not, it will save you a bunch of money. Just a thought.

  2. Debt-free by Thir-ty Says:

    Butterscotch, from everything I've read, it's proper etiquette to invite all guests to the rehearsal dinner at a destination wedding. I highly doubt they were accounting for a large-scale destination wedding however. I'm guessing it will probably be 50-60 at the rehearsal dinner (our wedding party alone is about 30 when you count dates/spouses/kids) since a little under half our guests are probably driving in Saturday and will miss the dinner. That's why I'm leaning towards pizza at a picnic site. Guests can mingle, do a little sightseeing (even take a hike if they're so inclined), and it will be low-key. The two food options are BBQ catering or pizza. I'm leaning towards the pizza place as they have several Southwestern style pizzas, so guests still get a taste of local flavor, but $20/pizza is much more reasonable than $25/guest for the BBQ.

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    I can't quite fathom spending that much money! Our wedding was local in late 90s for $3000 for $150 guests. Included EVERYTHING and yes open bar and catered food. It was on a Friday evening keeping the party somewhat short.

    Good luck!

  4. Debt-free by Thir-ty Says:

    Wow CCF! I wish I could get away with 3k. Our venue alone is 8.5k for 7 hrs. Our catering is another 7k. And that's at a pretty reasonable ~40pp. I think the estimate will end up being a little high, but I still think we'll come in somewhere between 18-20k. Part of it stems from the fact that we chose destination. While others have convinced me that I'm not responsible for entertaining guests 100% of the time, I do feel the need to make the wedding a celebration. Hence, the catered dinner, open bar, and open invite to the Rehearsal Dinner for guests already in town. It probably doesn't even seem like it, but I am trying to minimize other wedding-associated costs which is probably a separate post in and of itself. Some of those include using Thumbtack for vendors, asking for military discounts on everything, asking for a separate less-expensive children's menu, buying an inexpensive pre-owned dress and a single convertible white dress for all other pre-wedding events, using rewards for travel, and even incorporating DIY where I can (Save the Dates, invites, Out of Town bags, table cards, guestbook, etc.).

  5. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    Sounds like a very nice people. I think we spent $15k in 2005 for 55 people. LOL but we cheaped out on many things. It was a destination wedding but back then it was lunch and we spent the minimum $5k it included the cake, setup, cleanup, etc.

  6. CB in the City Says:

    Wow, I don't think I spent $2K on my wedding! But it was the late sixties (well, 1970) and we were anti-materialistic love children. It was cool to get married at sunset in a field, in a white cotton dress, flowers in your hair, and bare toes peeking out! (No, that's not what I did -- it was a traditional church wedding. I'm just saying, that was the culture then). I know your heart is set on this, so I will only say, don't let your expectations get too large. Even with a lot of money invested, little things can go wrong, so don't let that upset you -- always remember the fairytale is in your heart.

  7. VS_ozgirl Says:

    CB is right and I think your picnic party with everyone invited is a nice touch! Your friends and family will feel appreciated. It all sounds lovely! Now that you have organised an amazing wedding it's important to not get too caught up in the smaller details to be able to avoid a major financial blowout. Just keep asking yourself "how important will this thing be for my wedding memory?" Have some things as awesome and some things as average. There's a quote I see on this website "brass shines the same as gold to the ignorant ".

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